Time Warner ($TWX) owns a golden hen with HBO, and in less than three weeks will attempt to hatch a golden egg with HBO Max. The new streaming service will launch with lots of content Warner Bros. Entertainment has lying around (Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Sesame Street, Studio Ghibli, etc.) alongside all of HBO's TV shows and movies. And if you preorder, it's only $11.99 a month instead of the usual $15.
But HBO Max is stepping into the ring at a precarious time. The great 'streaming war' we've been hearing about is really heating up, since so many services are launching in 2020 (Peacock and Quibi) during a pandemic that means all production is shut down for any new shows being planned. Ask Netflix ($NFLX), Hulu ($PRIVATE:HULU), and Amazon Prime Video ($AMZN) in a few months, and see how many new series they have ready to go up. The answer is not a lot.
And then there's Disney Plus ($DIS), the ultimate measuring stick for launching a streaming service years after Netflix's rise. Since its launch six months ago, Disney Plus has over 54 million subscribers, which will likely make anyone who isn't Reed Hastings very jealous. Does HBO Max have a Baby Yoda or Frozen 2 in its catalog at launch to get people hooked? Let's take a look at where HBO Max sits weeks ahead of its launch, and how that stacks up with its competition.
Even though it has yet to be released, HBO Max doesn't have the fewest amount of Twitter followers! That honor goes to Quibi ($PRIVATE:QUIBI), which has problems of its own to deal with. But there's a good chance that once HBO Max officially releases, and HBO NOW and HBO GO users get integrated into the new service, there will be a piggyback effect for all of social media. Regular old HBO has over two and a half million followers, which is more than Disney+ and Hulu combined, in part thanks to hits it has cranked out over the decades, like Game of Thrones.
On Facebook, standard HBO has 12.8 million likes, whereas Max has 28.7K likes. But in terms of online chatter and buzz, there isn't much of a difference; HBO Max had 26.2K people talking about the service yesterday, and HBO had just 46.7K mentions. Imagine once all those fans get onto Max, it could be a real boost for Time Warner's service. Not to mention people discussing Westworld Season 3.
What a lot of the other more recent streaming services didn't have was an installed, preexisting fanbase. People are deeply entrenched in HBO already, and HBO Max will have no problem catching up everywhere in terms of follower counts. On Instagram, there are teases of what shows will be coming. Once it releases, there will be a lot more Game of Thrones, Friends, and John Oliver memes to post and share.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.